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 Post subject: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:18 pm 
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British prisoners are not allowed to receive parcels. This apparently includes books:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 12921.html

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Philip Pullman, the author of fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, said on Twitter that the rules amounted to “one of the most disgusting, mean, vindictive acts of a barbaric government”


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Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black, said: “Given that the books sent in would be screened for drugs or offensive weapons and any removed entitled ‘How To Escape’, I am baffled as to Grayling’s reasoning. You judge a society by how it treats its prisoners. Banning books is the first thing dictators in totalitarian states do.”

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:33 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:39 pm 
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That is absolutely terrible, shameful, and reprehensible.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:03 pm 
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I'm saddened and at the same time am not surprised. It feels like the UK is becoming more totalitarian all the time.

Perhaps a way around this would be to transcribe a book, by hand, into letters and post these to prisoners instead. It would be a time consuming activity, but one to ponder.


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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:00 pm 
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This is a good related article:
http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2014/03 ... ust-answer

It makes the point that although Grayling says prisoners still have access to prison libraries, those libraries are primarily funded by local councils, who have had their budgets (and especially their library budgets) slashed (by Grayling's government). Cuts to prison service funding also mean that prison officers are not often available to escort prisoners to the library.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:35 pm 
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The hell! This is horrible.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:51 am 
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I'm so appalled by this. I forking hate our government.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:21 am 
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8ball wrote:
I'm saddened and at the same time am not surprised. It feels like the UK is becoming more totalitarian all the time.


agreed, and many other countries too. This is terrible. I always thought that if I was ever to go to prison, at least I'd be able to read a lot, and books (mostly) of my choosing.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:51 am 
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That's so inhumane.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:59 am 
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Quarantined wrote:
8ball wrote:
I'm saddened and at the same time am not surprised. It feels like the UK is becoming more totalitarian all the time.
agreed, and many other countries too. This is terrible. I always thought that if I was ever to go to prison, at least I'd be able to read a lot, and books (mostly) of my choosing.
Right? It seems to me like that might be one of the few ways in which the situation might be made tolerable. I honestly just can't get over how MEAN this is, in every sense of that word. To ban people from receiving some small item of comfort or thoughtfulness from the people who love and care for them is so dehumanizing and needlessly cruel. Being locked up must be bad enough; by denying people with almost no agency the comfort of a novel or a warm pair of socks, the government makes it pretty clear who's uncivilized in this equation.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:52 am 
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That's terrible! I think in the US books can only be shipped directly from certain bookstores sometimes (it probably varies state by state), and they might even be technically considered donations to the prison library. At least, I fuzzily recall those being rules when an extended family member was in prison for a while. Still, there's a way to do it at least. And the US prisons seem so much more institutionalized than elsewhere! I'm really surprised.

Maybe this belongs in FB awkwardness, but I get so steamed every time somebody posts that awful story about that sheriff in Arizona who has made everyone do hard labor and sleep in tents in the heat or whatever (I don't know how much of that is actually true). Ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:01 pm 
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This is appalling! I have a number of friends who've spent time in prison for peace activism here in the UK (and interviewed a few more for my PhD) and the one thing they always emphasise is how important being able to read books is for their mental wellbeing whilst inside.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:08 pm 
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A petition against the ban: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/r ... -any-event

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:22 pm 
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Thanks Imogen. I didn't even realise this included items from children. This is just horrible.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:24 pm 
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annak wrote:
That's terrible! I think in the US books can only be shipped directly from certain bookstores sometimes (it probably varies state by state), and they might even be technically considered donations to the prison library. At least, I fuzzily recall those being rules when an extended family member was in prison for a while. Still, there's a way to do it at least. And the US prisons seem so much more institutionalized than elsewhere! I'm really surprised.

It probably varies state to state but I know that in NYS, books have to be shipped directly from businesses (B&N, Amazon, etc...) and the inmates get to keep them. However, if you go on a family visit (the weekend visits in the trailers) you can bring movies but they have to still be in all of their packaging and not opened, sent ahead of time so that the officials can preview them and once the visit is over, they become property of the prison library for all inmates and families to use on visits.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:35 pm 
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That is really terrible.

I'm not sure about how rules vary from state to state or even individual prison to prison in the U.S. but I have volunteered some in the past with Chicago's Books to Women In Prison group and I really liked it. Sometimes people would just submit a slip that had their preferred titles/genres/authors/etc., but sometimes people would write longer letters about what they were looking for and why, or books they had gotten from the group in the past, or other personal things about their life or their experience in prison. Then I would sort through the groups little library to pick out things that I thought the women would like to receive based on their requests or their backgrounds, and write them a little note about why I picked out what I picked, what I thought of the book if I'd read it before...I really liked doing that, and I image that if I were in prison and received a package of books picked out specially for me, I would be so happy and touched.

Such a horrible move.


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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:06 am 
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It isn't a complete ban on prisoners receiving books, it is a ban on them receiving books from family and friends in the post, they will still be allowed to receive new books straight from suppliers and book shops. The reason being that everything that goes in to the prison from friends and family has to be thoroughly checked for contraband, taking time and resources, whilst this isn't really an issue from say amazon and waterstones where the likelihood of someone slipping drugs or a mobile phone in the book is somewhat slim....

not saying I agree or disagree with it, just that the reason for it isn't to deprive prisoners of books completely...

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:57 am 
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happy apple wrote:
It isn't a complete ban on prisoners receiving books, it is a ban on them receiving books from family and friends in the post, they will still be allowed to receive new books straight from suppliers and book shops. The reason being that everything that goes in to the prison from friends and family has to be thoroughly checked for contraband, taking time and resources, whilst this isn't really an issue from say amazon and waterstones where the likelihood of someone slipping drugs or a mobile phone in the book is somewhat slim....

not saying I agree or disagree with it, just that the reason for it isn't to deprive prisoners of books completely...

The rules have changed. Only prisoners can get the books directly from Amazon using their own money.

“Previously, some prisons did permit such books to be sent in from home, or more often purchased by family members via Amazon and sent directly. Now, prisoners have to buy every book they need themselves via the prison system – which uses Amazon – using their wages or the small amounts of private cash families are permitted to send to their prison accounts."
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prison-books-ban--the-view-from-inside-this-is-taking-away-our-best-hope-of-reform-9222321.html


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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:09 am 
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The writer of article states that the libraries in prisons are adequate for general readers and that only those doing educational courses or requiring reference books that will have difficulty getting the required reading material, so the majority of prisoners will not be affected, maybe there will be exemptions in some form or other for those prisoners as the rules kick in.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:40 am 
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happy apple wrote:
The writer of article states that the libraries in prisons are adequate for general readers and that only those doing educational courses or requiring reference books that will have difficulty getting the required reading material, so the majority of prisoners will not be affected, maybe there will be exemptions in some form or other for those prisoners as the rules kick in.

He was talking about personal experience from more than 30 years ago. The actual news article posted originally said that local councils are quick to cut funding for prison libraries and it is getting harder for prisoners to access those libraries. Also, if these are locally funded resources, some might be wonderful, while others are a disaster.
Also, if prisons in the UK are at all like the US, commissary prices are gouged and lots of people don't have a lot of money in their accounts. Is it ok to force people to choose between clean underwear or extra food (which is sometimes needed to supplement restricted diets... Like veganism) or hygene supplies or books?
Just curious (genuinely, not trying to be shitty) is there a reason you think it's better for prisoners not to get books from loved ones?


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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:59 am 
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I said I didn't agree or disagree in an earlier post.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:51 am 
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Also, my friend in the North points out it's English and Welsh prisoners, not all British prisoners.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Ruby Rose wrote:
Also, my friend in the North points out it's English and Welsh prisoners, not all British prisoners.

Aarrgh, sorry, I should have read more carefully and titled the post better.

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:37 pm 
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jogirl wrote:
Ruby Rose wrote:
Also, my friend in the North points out it's English and Welsh prisoners, not all British prisoners.

Aarrgh, sorry, I should have read more carefully and titled the post better.

It's a huge peeve of mine, this conflating of English and Welsh law with 'British law' as there is no British law (just as there is no British NHS, no British education system... etc.) This is the fault of the newspapers more than anything else, I feel (I'm certainly not laying anything at the door of the fragrant M. jogirl!)- I read things myself about changes to the law, to the NHS, to education, and so forth and get so muddled as at first I think it applies here and then I remember it doesn't. It can get so very confusing!

Incidentally, I took a flight from Glasgow to London at the weekend and the pilot was very pleased to welcome us all to the UK when we landed... Uh, did we leave at all in that wee hour and a bit? Like I say... confusing!

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 Post subject: Re: British prisoners not allowed to receive books
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:27 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
Incidentally, I took a flight from Glasgow to London at the weekend and the pilot was very pleased to welcome us all to the UK when we landed... Uh, did we leave at all in that wee hour and a bit? Like I say... confusing!

Maybe he was practicing for after the referendum.

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